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I don't know what it's like. So I run
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By Gil Clelland - Pastor at Sanctuary London

I wanted to follow Jesus a bit better this Lent. In the book to the Hebrews, the author wrote this, "We don't have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He's been through weakness and testing, experienced it all" (The Message). In other words, Jesus experienced everything we do so He can know us better. He knows our reality. The cross did that. He felt all of our suffering and pain, so he could love us in the midst of it. I read that verse and wanted to follow Jesus like that this Lent.

Boyd Dunleavey and I have been friends for a while - casual Facebook and hey-how-you-doing kind of friends for a few years. But we've crossed paths too many times in the last few months to be merely a coincidence. I had been training to run my first marathon at the local YMCA and Boyd had been doing recovery workouts at the same location. I knew from Facebook that Boyd had gone through a lot in the last two years but never took the time to find out much more than that. Then I saw a challenge. Team in Training, a branch of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, would fly me to Alaska to run a marathon there if I would raise $6000 for research and treatment. I approached Boyd the next day with my question, "can I run for you?" Boyd was honoured.

If I am reading Hebrews correctly, I need to do better than just run. I need to know. So we sit, Boyd and I, just to chat. We shoot the breeze and talk about hopes, pains, and children and love. We talk about recovery and fears. And we talk about God - His faithfulness in the midst of great pain and trials. Boyd is about my age. He is married, like me. He has 3 children, like me. I have begun to identify with him. And I began to share this story with friends. Many people know someone with leukemia - a friend with a child who died from leukemia, another friend who lost a brother, a young family still coping with their daughters diagnosis...This disease has a grip on so many people I thought I knew. Now I know better.

I have a t-shirt from Team in Training that I will be wearing in Alaska as I run. On the back, I am going to write the names of all the people I am running for, all the people I am starting to identify with, all the people I am beginning to love a bit better. The run in Alaska is June 22. I need to raise $6000 before that. On Friday April 26th at 7pm, Boyd and I are hosting a Dessert and Coffee Evening at Talbot St Church - 513 Talbot St. We are going to share our stories and ask for people to join us financially. Come join us that night! Sign a name to my shirt. Share your story. May we the people of God share our collective stories so we grow in love, understanding, and identification - not just with each other, but with our God.

For more information or to share your story with me, email me at gil@sanctuarylondon.ca






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